AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG has its headquarters in Münster in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony.
The agricultural trade and service company has a history dating back to 1893, when it was founded by four consumer associations and 64 individual members. Its initial aim was to function as a central marketer for these farmers and associations. Over the years, the venture grew substantially and, by the 1980s, achieved sales of over a billion euros per year.
In its present form, the company was formed in October 2004 through the merger of Raiffeisen Hauptgenossenschaft Nord AG (RHG) in Hanover and Raiffeisen Central-Genossenschaft Nordwest eG (RCG) in Münster.
AGRAVIS Raiffeisen provides farmers and farming operations with various goods. These range from pet and animal food, fertilizers, equestrian equipment, crop protection products, garden and household items, and general agricultural equipment needed in crop farming and agricultural engineering.
The company has also invested in agricultural warehouses and distribution centers and is a prominent supplier of agricultural building materials.
The company is large, boasting a turnover of over 6 billion euros in sales per year and well over 6,000 employees. AGRAVIS Raiffeisen supplies around 1,000 Raiffeisen stores from its distribution warehouse in Münster, and clients can also order online. There are over 13,000 different items in the inventory.
The forward-thinking company applies sustainability as a business model and is involved in various agricultural projects in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
By 2019, the previous warehouse picking system had become both impractical and not economically viable. Employees had to pick ordered items manually from a three-tier shelf system and a Colli roller rail. Then they had to push the selected goods by cart to the packing table, where items were prepared for packaging and send-off.
“With traditional warehousing methods in use, it became more and more difficult to meet the increasing logistic demands of our customers in an economical way,” says Andre Damkowski, logistics consultant at the AGRAVIS Raiffeisen distribution center. In addition, the company dealt with many small items, which further complicated the ordering process.
The distances employees had to cover and the picking and the delivery of goods became more and more time-consuming as the inventory grew. Inevitably, mistakes were made, which led to customer complaints.
The company began to investigate alternative logistics solutions, which could be expanded in the future if necessary. At this point, they chose the AutoStore system, empowered by AM Automation.
As an easily scalable, highly automated, and compact system, AutoStore was ideally suited to meet their requirements, Maik Weinheimer, the responsible project manager at AM-Automation, recalls.
In July 2020, the team installed the new warehouse automation system in less than eight weeks without disturbing operations.
At this location, the AutoStore system has the following specifications:
The new system’s advantages quickly became apparent in terms of efficiency, picking speed, and accuracy.
As the AutoStore software manages the sorting of the required goods to the top of the grid for retrieval, there’s much less staff involvement in the picking process. This also makes for a more ergonomic workplace. Furthermore, the system has significantly lowered the rate of picking errors.
“Since we sometimes map relatively time-consuming packaging processes at the ports, we’ve planned a picking and packing performance of around 80 items per hour and work station,” says Damkowski. “Compared to the earlier two-stage, manual process that means an increase in performance of more than 200%.”
The system can also be easily adapted for the future expansion of the warehouse. “Thanks to AutoStore, we’ve future-proofed our distribution center,” concludes a satisfied Dennis Kluge, Head of the Distribution Center.
Thanks to the AutoStore™ system, we’ve future-proofed our distribution center in Münster.
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AutoStore can fit any warehouse or fulfillment center. Make yours the next.